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In the mailbox today was that most rare of items, a personalized letter with the address hand written on the envelope. It was from my sister, and, for a second, I thought it might be a check with long lost funds from an unknown relative.
No check. It was a newspaper clipping about rugby from the Rockville Centre Herald, a small paper on Long Island, New York. We grew up in Rockville Centre, where she and her husband returned forty-years ago to raise two sons (neither of whom played rugby).
I have been working/consulting this past twelve-years for United World Sports (Rugby Today, Las Vegas Sevens, Collegiate Rugby Championship, and Rhino Equipment and Kit) and my sister became acquainted with the sport, especially, sevens. She's an avid reader of mysteries from authors around the globe, frequently finding "rugby" cited in international novels, and not just from the United Kingdom.
The enclosed newspaper clipping narrated the success of the Rockville Centre-based Long Island RFC, which qualified for the DIII round of eight in the Eastern championship. Their victories in the next round in Ohio saw them qualifiy as the North Atlantic Rugby Champions. They will play for the DIII title in Glendale, Colorado, on June 3 against the Austin Blacks.
The club was founded in 1992, and, currently, plays in the Met Union of New York. It began as the Rockville Centre RFC, merging with the Long Island RFC in 1998 (Founded in 1972). The Long Island name attracts ruggers from the area's two counties, Nassau and Suffolk. There is also a Women's team.
Once upon a time in the 1960s and 1970s, only New York City offered Metropolitan area rugby players a chance to play. But since then, rugby migrated into the surrounding suburbs with new clubs like White Plains, the Connecticut Grays, Monmouth, and others finding local athletes to start new clubs.
The June 3 match will be streamed live on USA Rugby TV. For the first time, I can root for my hometown club. Go Rogues!